- Schools across the country have been instructed to remain closed till May 23.
- Asad Umar presides over NCOC meeting.
- NCOC to decide whether or not to impose further restrictions or relax them.
ISLAMABAD: An important meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) is underway to decide whether or not additional restrictions should be imposed and whether schools should remain closed beyond May 23.
The meeting will review the prevalent situation of the coronavirus in the country. NCOC chief Asad Umar is presiding over the meeting while Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, provincial chief secretaries and other members of authorities are taking part in the meeting as well.
The decisions will be taken on the basis of the briefings provided by the provincial chief secretaries.
The NCOC had earlier imposed a lockdown in the country during Eid holidays in order to stop the spread of the virus amid the deadly third wave.
Later, certain restrictions were eased following a review of the pandemic.
Pakistan’s COVID death toll nears 20,000
Pakistan neared another grim landmark of 20,000 fatalities on Wednesday when the country reported 104 new deaths from coronavirus.
As per the official data by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 41,771 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours from which 3,256 returned positive.
The total caseload of confirmed virus cases in the country is 886,184.
At least 104 lost their lives to the contagion, raising the nationwide death toll to 19,856.
The coronavirus positivity rate stands at 7.79% whereas about 799,951 people have recovered across Pakistan from the virus.
In a province-wise breakdown, Sindh has reported 301,247 cases, Punjab 329,913, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 127,609, Islamabad 79,552, Balochistan 24,064, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 18,360, and Gilgit Baltistan 5,439.
Cannot tolerate further extension of schools closure
The Pakistan Alliance of Private Schools also held a meeting today ahead of the NCOC’s review session.
“NCOC should immediately announce reopening of educational institutions,” said the alliance’s chairman Akram Sheikh.
Sheikh said coronavirus cases across the country were reported in large numbers after markets and businesses were allowed to reopen, not schools.
“Educational institutions should be reopened, similar to other sectors, with strict compliance of coronavirus SOPs,” he said, adding that a further extension in the closure of educational institutions will result in “irreparable loss” for students.
Sheikh warned that if the ban was extended beyond May 23, countrywide protests will be held against the decision.